"Octopus rubescens" by Taollan82 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Octopuses May Go Blind As Climate Change Sucks Oxygen Out of the Ocean

May 17, 2019

By Brandon Specktor

Turning light particles into visual information is hard work, and your body relies on oxygen to get the job done. This is true whether you walk the land on two limbs or swim through the sea with eight.

In fact, according to a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the amount of oxygen available to marine invertebrates like squids, crabs and octopuses may be far more important to their vision than previously thought. In the study, published online April 24, researchers saw a significant drop in retinal activity in four species of marine larvae (two crabs, an octopus and a squid) when the animals were exposed to reduced-oxygen environments for as little as 30 minutes.

For some species, even a minuscule drop in oxygen levels resulted in almost immediate vision loss, eventually causing near-total blindness before the oxygen was cranked back up again.

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